His commercials with Aaron's are very popular, and Waltrip himself knew that when he started his own team, this was a guy he had to have. Who knows how popular Richmond would be today if he was still with us. His ability to run fast and maintain control on the unique track got him four wins in the late 50s and early 60s. But, in that moment, Craven earned the respect and popularity at a track that he had to tame the hard way. In addition to Busch — the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion — the only active full-time drivers among the best of the best on the all-time wins list … When he wins, he rubs it in and when he loses, he has a shitty attitude. He may not have reached a level like his famous father, but Kyle certainly held his own. Probably the first driver to turn car owner and have great success was Junior Johnson. Kurt Busch became popular probably in the most unorthodox of ways. 1 of 49. In 1995, he signed on with Joe Gibbs Racing to race the No. One of the most popular current drivers in NASCAR is Kyle Busch, also known as "Rowdy" due to his boisterous personality. His loss hit everyone hard in the sport, but much like the slogan for Allison since his death, he truly is gone but not forgotten. Legacy: Gordon's popularity has increased through the fact that he transcends NASCAR. Long continued to race, but after an engine fiasco at the Sprint All-Star Race a few years ago that saw him penalized $250,000, we didn't hear much from him. It's a different Gordon, one that has reduced the haters and increased his popularity. It's not the track promoters that spend the money in commercials, and it is certainly not the sponsors getting their product exposure every weekend. Most of the garage area will agree that if he does go that route, he will be just as successful as he has been in NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr's popularity was secure simply because of the name, and after his father's death, it grew 10-fold. He was popular especially for the commercials he did with UPS. Everyone believes this man should be higher than he is going to be on this list. Much like his father, Davey was a great driver and knew his way around the race car. But, he would not get his first career victory until 2001. These days, those pit stops are normal, but it was something when it happened. He earned one-fourth of those (a total of 11 in only 28 races) during one magical season in 1985, even though he finished second in the points standings that year to Terry Labonte. Or, could it have something to do with his most famous sponsor, Hooters? Fred Lorenzen after winning the 1965 Daytona 500. In fact, he was one of the first to make the transition from behind the wheel to on the microphone. When everyone sees that No. But, who would have thought that one wreck would set off the popularity, and amount of help, for someone just trying to earn a living. We can surely look up to the sky and see those huge sunglasses looking down, probably smiling and happy we are continuing to enjoy the sport he loved. Is it someone who is defined by his fan base, by the respect in the garage, the amount of merchandise sold or a combination of all three? We sit down and eat some Kentucky Fried Chicken, I guess, just like it was a Fourth of July party. 9 Budweiser Ford or now the Red Bull Toyota, Kahne's fan base is secure. Those kinds of numbers sort of speak for themselves and tend to make a driver pretty popular with his fanbase, which he stays in touch with through social media and by being a generally amiable guy with just about everybody but fellow driver Brad Keselowski these days. He was also involved in the finish of the first Daytona 500, despite being two laps down to the leader. Busch is a philanthropist who has helped many couples afford IVF treatments and regularly races for benefits. His seven Sprint Cup Championships is rivaled by only one other driver, who can also bring a good case for the best NASCAR driver of all-time, Richard Petty. At the same time, then-Joe Gibbs Racing driver Tony Stewart announced he would leave the organization to start his own team. Powered by Vocal © 2020 Jerrick Ventures LLC. But, what really set off his popularity in NASCAR was the moment that blasted NASCAR into the main stream. Elliott continued his career with his own team in the mid-1990s but got a resurgence in 2001 when he signed with Evernham Motorsports to bring Dodge back to NASCAR and also bring back the No. Great car choice, excellent driving skills, and more wins than most NASCAR fans could ever hope to get are what make him one of the most famous classic drivers in this racing circuit. Whether he was driving the No. In 2004 at Rockingham, Long made the lineup, but he and some other drivers on the starting grid had the unfortunate term of "field fillers." That humor has also landed him a spot on NASCAR Raceday and Victory Lane, where his craziness just makes the weekend at the track more fun. Then, during the first Chase for the Cup, Busch made a believer out of everyone that he was champion material. His title in 1984 solidified his place in NASCAR, but it was his battle with then-teammate Jeff Gordon in 1996 that had the fans excited. Like Busch said a while back, "As long as they're making noise, I'm happy." If he does, look for this man's popularity to soar like the Space Shuttle. Legacy: Lorenzen was recently voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Maybe next year that success and popularity will return, thanks to JTG Daugherty Racing. Fred Lorenzen was a driver on the cutting edge as he would travel cross country putting NASCAR on the market and in the eyes of the public. Probably the fiercest rival to Richard Petty in the 1960s and 1970s was David Pearson. Known as the Intimidator because of his ability to push races to the limit, Dale Earnhardt became one of the biggest names in NASCAR racing during the 80s and 90s. It also meant that when he did get angry, it was something to talk about. Tony Stewart was one of the most versatile drivers in motorsports history, winning on virtually any surface in any type of vehicle he drove. Another member of the Alabama Gang, Bobby Allison's career is one that is among the finest in NASCAR. But how do you maintain your vehicle? But, it was an altercation in the garage at Michigan in 2003 that put Busch on the map, seeing as though it meant he had to take a punch. These days, Lorenzen focuses mainly on the stock market and makes a lot of money using his portfolio. Whether the car had a brightly painted rainbow or it had red-hot flames, Jeff Gordon has always been one of the more popular drivers among the fans. Follow him on Twitter @OneMenz. But, as far as popularity, you can't hate someone for doing what they wanted in life. Where's the success? A year earlier, Bobby was involved in a horrific crash at Talladega that saw his car destroyed and part of the safety fencing torn down on the front straightaway, which eventually led to the restrictor plates used at Daytona and Talladega. 50. Legacy: One of the most popular NASCAR moments in history came in 1988, when he won the Daytona 500 and his son, Davey, finished second. But, Craven's most talked about moment came two years later at Darlington.